Police pounce on robbers

In what resembled a script from a movie, swift police action resulted in the arrest of two business robbery suspects in Asanda Village on Friday 3 August.

The men and women in blue were in the right place at the right time as they chased the robbery suspects just minutes after robbing Bhutta Cash Store in Paliso Street.

Two suspects brandishing guns gained entry to the shop and the shopkeeper, a Pakistani national, was hit over the head with a gun after they demanded money.

They took some cash from the till, the shopkeeper’s cellphone and cigarettes before fleeing on foot.

Before leaving, one suspect tried to force the owner of the house to which the shop is attached into the shop by pointing a gun at him, but he refused.

The owner, known as Mafrika, encountered one of the suspects outside, standing at the shop door, on his way to the local toilets when he was ordered into the shop.

“I was not aware of what was happening,” he told City Vision. “This young man pointed a gun at me but I pushed him aside and ran to the back.

“This is when I managed to call the police to alert them. The shopkeeper inside was already screaming ‘help me’. While one was standing at the door, the other was inside hitting the shopkeeper over the head with the gun, demanding more money.”

Mafrika said the three suspects had arrived in the shop on Thursday in the morning and were driving a black car.

“Two came inside the yard while one remained in the car, but they did nothing,” he said, adding this was a second robbery to take place in the shop, the other committed about a year ago.

“These ones returned after parking their car in front of the gate around 20:00 last night (Thursday), where they were for a long time. Even then they looked suspicious, but later left, and they came back to rob us this morning.

Mafrika said the suspects dispersed after the robbery, as they had to pass the police station. He called to the police and they gave chase.

When City Vision arrived on the scene, curious onlookers had gathered as the suspects were locked in the back of the police van.

Residents said robbery was rife in the area, but were shocked to witness it occurring during the day.

Sergeant Mthokozisi Gama said police who were in the vicinity chased the suspects who were on foot.

“One suspect came back to fetch the car and he was spotted and arrested with a bag full of cigarettes,” he said.

“With their (police) tactical movement, another suspect was also arrested and taken to the bushes to point out where he had hidden his unlicensed firearm. Police also found an undisclosed amount of money in the suspect’s possession.”

Gama confirmed the two suspects, both residing in Lwandle, visited the shop on Thursday driving a black Tata Indigo (which was found parked nearby) in the vicinity of Paliso Street.

“A firearm was confiscated and it will be taken to forensics to test if it was used previously in other crimes. A case of business robbery was opened.

Another charge of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition will be added,” Gama said.

“Both suspects, aged 23 and 27, will appear soon in the Strand Magistrate Court. Lwandle station commander expressed his gratitude to all the Lwandle SAPS, Somerset West SAPS and off duty police member who assisted with arresting of the suspects,” said Gama.

The men are still in custody and will appear again court on Monday 13 August.